Tucked in the Borders hills just outside Melrose, Dryburgh Abbey Hotel is within easy reach of Central Scotland and Edinburgh Airport. The hotel reclines on the edge of the legendary River Tweed and enjoys a privileged position overlooking the romantic ruins of Dryburgh Abbey, one of the most striking of the Borders abbeys.
A Privileged Position
If it were any closer to the River Tweed Dryburgh would have very soggy foundations and fish leaping around its corridors. Thankfully it hangs a few safe metres above the water, but this proximity is the main drawcard for anglers with free fishing offered from spring to autumn. Not, for nothing has the hotel won awards for its fishing and that, along with corporate groups, is its mainstay. Saying that it is also an unpretentious place where you will not feel the need to dress to the nines all day, making it ideal for a relaxed family weekend away or an escape for couples not wanting to break the bank at one of the Borders’ other truly expensive hotels.
Dryburgh Abbey Hotel offers only 38 individually named non-smoking rooms, all with views of the River Tweed and/or the hotel grounds. There are deluxe and four poster bedrooms, but for a real splurge go for the Tower Suites with the best views of the River Tweed. Neat touches include complimentary hot drinks trays and Gilchrist and Soames toiletries. Somewhat unusually dogs are welcome for a nominal cleaning fee.
The Aptly Named Tweed Restaurant
Dining at Dryburgh Hotel Dining is in the aptly named Tweed Restaurant, which enjoys sweeping views out over the countryside towards the river from its huge old-fashioned windows. Dinner is table d’hote with plenty of choice. I loved the plump scallops wrapped in crispy, salty bacon, but the stand out was the buccleuch beef fillet. Two generous and properly rare (all too many chefs still these days don’t believe you mean it when you ask for rare) cuts were joined by a slice of haggis and laced with a Bernaise sauce that just stayed on the right side of being too rich.
The Fishing is the Highlight for Anglers
The fishing is the highlight for anglers with free fishing available from spring to autumn and you can even hire out a rod and gear here if you did not manage to bring along your own. The river is literally just outside the hotel so you wont need to heft all your wet gear in and out of a car. They can also arrange transport and ghillies for trips to other stretches of the Tweed. The hotel itself has a small swimming pool that is joined by a wood panelled sauna; free for guests. You can actually see right into the grounds of Dryburgh Abbey for nothing, but pay the small entrance fee and you can delve around the ruins properly.
There is no shortage of things to see and do around Dryburgh. The hotel can organise activities such as horse riding on the Borders’ rolling hills as well as shooting, both clay pigeon and game. Then there are the ten golf courses that all lie within a thirty-minute drive of the hotel, the closest only 3 miles away.
Dryburgh Abbey Hotel, St Boswells, Melrose, TD6 0RQ. Tel: +44(0)1835-822261. www.dryburgh.co.uk
For Families 6/10
For a Romantic Break 7/10
For Food 7/10
For Business People 6/10
InsiderScotland Rating 7/10.